Being Your User

I just finished what my company calls a “tour of duty”. A tour of duty amounts to being an operations employee for 4 hours. You show up at 8 am because that is when the day shift starts. A senior ops person shows you what to do and then they sit behind you while you do it.

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<p>I was a bit skeptical when I first heard the idea but after experiencing it I am a convert.  It is interesting to see what things about your software are annoying when all you want is to get the job done.  More importantly though, the experience inspires passion and passion is the most valuable asset any company can have &#8212 especially in their employees.  Without passionate employees there is very little chance of having passionate customers.</p>

For me the there were a couple of things that where nice to see. First, the products my company produces are quite visually pleasing. It is easy to be passionate about things that are pretty. Second, I finally saw ops using a tool I wrote. That gave me a little “I rule” moment. Finally, it confirmed something I have suspected for a while now: Applications that do not have a RESTful web interface are pure, unmitigated evil.*

  • There are, of course, exceptions but the application you are working on is not one of them.

Update: Corrected some grammar and spelling errors.